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Photos courtesy Council of the District of Columbia

From an email:

“Century-Old Photo Negatives Discovered, Depicting Taft Inauguration, Newly-Constructed Wilson Building, and Historic Blizzard

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Through its ongoing effort to highlight elements of the history of the District government and its headquarters, the Council has discovered a cache of 108-year-old photo negatives featuring unique local subject matter.

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Specifically, the 31 images constitute a historic triple-play in terms of their content, in that they depict:

· The Inaugural Parade of William Howard Taft as the 27th President on March 4, 1909

· The District (now Wilson) Building just months after its dedication

· A historic blizzard so bad that the Presidential Oath was extraordinarily moved indoors

Photos drawn from these negatives, perhaps the first to see the light of day in a century, are on display in the Ground Floor Atrium of the Wilson Building. For full details on the exhibit, please see below. (more…)

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8th and Upshur Street, NW

“Dear PoPville,

A developer has applied for a permit to raze one of the first houses in Petworth. We discussed this project here before. It’s the house that has the steps on the side of the porch, which you can see on the photo from 1893.

Below is the notification from DCRA about a raze permit. Does anyone know if there is anything the neighbors could do to save this historic house from coming down? The developers could easily turn the house into condos without razing it.

The following raze applications were filed at the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) between December 1, 2016 and January 5, 2017:

ANC Address

4C 4207 8th Street NW (two story brick single family dwelling, semi-detached)”

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“Dear PoPville,

Found this on the ground in the CVS on Mass Ave. Any idea when metro stopped using tokens?”

Hmm, did metro rail, bus and streetcar all take tokens. I know the old streetcar did but I didn’t know bus and/or rail did too? Can any history buffs/WMATA employees/old school peeps school us? Either way, very cool find!

Ed. Note: If you have a photo of a neat find you’ve stumbled on please send an email to princeofpetworth(at)gmail.com thanks. Please let me know where you found it too.

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Courtesy DC Council

From a press release:

“The final chapter in the long saga of the Wilson Building’s World War II Memorial has been reached: the fully restored Memorial has been reinstalled on the building’s ground floor.

After spending two decades broken and forgotten in a closet, then another five years languishing in a mystery status with no known identity, the Memorial’s original purpose was rediscovered in early 2016.

The memorial, measuring nearly 12 feet by 6 feet, honors the nearly 2,000 DC government employees who served during World War II. Their war service is especially poignant given that they could not vote neither for their Commander-in-Chief, nor for a representative or Senator in the Congress that declared and funded the War.

To visit the Memorial, enter the Wilson Building through the 13 ½ Street entrance, then take an immediate left.

This article describes the detective work it took to rediscover the Memorial’s history, and includes links to the original historical documents on which that work relied. The memorial’s historic timeline is included below. (more…)

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Photo by PoPville flickr user LaTur

From an email:

“The Space Foundation today commented on the death of Col. John H. Glenn, Jr., USMC (Ret.), 95, the last of the Mercury Seven astronauts, military test pilots selected by NASA in 1959 to become America’s first astronauts.

“U.S. success in space was built on the courage and determination of men like John Glenn, who dedicated his life to serving his country and proving what humans could accomplish in space,” said Kevin Cook, Space Foundation – Marketing & Communications.

In 1962, Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth, and the fifth human in space. He was also the oldest person to go into space when, in 1998 at the age of 77, he returned to space as a Payload Specialist on Discovery’s STS-95 mission.

An Ohio native, Glenn was a U.S. Marine Corps aviator, engineer and United States Senator. He was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1990.”

Streets of Washington, written by John DeFerrari, covers some of DC’s most interesting buildings and history. John is the author of Historic Restaurants of Washington, D.C.: Capital Eats, published by the History Press, Inc. and also the author of Lost Washington DC.

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The Odd Fellows Hall, circa 1880. The two ground floor tenants are Asa U. Hazelton’s Boot and Shoe store on the left and the Webb & Beveridge China and Glass store on the right (author’s collection).

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows Temple, standing at 419 Seventh Street NW downtown, represents the rare persistence of a private organization at the same D.C. address for more than 170 years. The IOOF built their first hall at this location in 1845; today they still hold meetings here in the building they completed in 1917. Their previous hall, an ornate Victorian palace, was the scene of many social activities in the late 19th century but has rarely been captured in photographs.

The Odd Fellows are a benevolent fraternal society devoted to charitable works. The group began in England as “an organization of mechanics and laboring men, united for social purposes and to aid its members to obtain employment, as well as to assist them pecuniarily, when in need,” according to the group’s 1888 history. Like the Masons, the Odd Fellows were known for secret rituals, colorful uniforms and insignia, and elaborate ranks and degrees. The first American Odd Fellows lodge was founded by Thomas Wildey (1782-1861), a London blacksmith who came to America in 1817, in Baltimore in 1819. Odd Fellow lodges spread steadily throughout the United States after that, with over one hundred established by the 1830s. The first Washington, D.C., lodge was formed in 1827, and a Grand Lodge for the District of Columbia was established the following year. At least half a dozen separate lodges were formed throughout the District in the first half of the 19th century. (more…)

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Photo via Trust For The National Mall

Preservation for the Win Vol. 76! From The Trust for the National Mall:

“December 1, 2016 marks the groundbreaking of the relocation and restoration of the Lockeeper’s House, the oldest structure on the National Mall. For more than 180 years, the house has witnessed the history, development and commerce of our nation’s capital.

Located just inches from heavy traffic at the corner of 17th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, the house will be lifted and moved about 20 feet from the road and outfitted with an educational exhibit space welcoming visitors to Constitution Gardens and the National Mall.”

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Rendering via Trust For The National Mall

“The reimagined Constitution Gardens will retain its original purpose as a pastoral setting, but offer sustainable space for education and entertainment throughout the year, day and night. The restored space will serve as a much-needed gateway onto America’s Front Yard, orienting visitors with a welcome center and inviting spaces to relax, revive, or learn. (more…)

Streets of Washington, written by John DeFerrari, covers some of DC’s most interesting buildings and history. John is the author of Historic Restaurants of Washington, D.C.: Capital Eats, published by the History Press, Inc. and also the author of Lost Washington DC.

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W.B. Moses and Sons store at 11th and F Streets NW, circa 1915 (source: Library of Congress).

“Sell Furniture Earth Over” was the headline in The Sunday Star in November 1908 profiling the W.B. Moses and Sons firm headquartered at 11th and F Streets downtown. By that time the company was well established as “the largest exclusively retail furniture carpet, upholstery, drapery, bedding and wall-paper house in America,” as one promotional book put it. Elegant W.B. Moses furnishings, many of them manufactured right here in the District, graced hundreds of homes throughout the Washington area and as far away as Panama City, Panama. Though the firm disbanded in 1937, antiques collectors still find mahogany chairs, dressers, and tables sporting the W.B. Moses label. Even the Senate Reception Room, one of the most richly decorated spaces in the U.S. Capitol, is fitted out with elegant Flemish oak benches custom made by W.B. Moses in 1899. (more…)